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Meet Angela Hays

Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Hays.

Hi Angela, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My first trip to Moab was actually when I was like 5 years old. Our family camped at Arches and I ran around the rocks with mom and dad trying to keep the kids from falling off cliffs. I guess I was smitten way back then so I came back to Moab after college in 2007 to work as a river guide and park ranger at Arches and Canyonlands Nat’l parks.

I came face-to-face with a mountain lion, had a coyote join me on a jog (literally), and would watch bobcats stalk rabbits from my living room window. I loved wandering the canyons, finding lesser-known arches, and paddling the rivers. These experiences left me in awe of this place and capturing it became a passion.

I incorporate my love of nature into my photographic style. I enjoy taking clients to new places away from distraction where they can focus on each other and what brought them together. I first began working with photography in high school and spent many hours in the darkroom developing images and falling in love with that medium.

Now I get to combine my love for nature and my desire to create art into a profession that suits me in every possible way. It is truly the best job in the world. When I’m not behind the lens you can find me floating the rivers, biking the trails, and exploring the area.

I love the eclectic, small, buzzing community of Moab.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Every business owner can relate to the highs and lows that accompany the entrepreneur.

I will sometimes find myself doubting my work or comparing myself to others. But some of that comparison is necessary and helps us grow, stay current and stay relevant in our field of work.

I also began my business as a young mom of two kids. I have since had two more kids. Squeezing in editing time is a challenge! My husband (who works as a park ranger for Canyonlands) is great at giving me the time I need to answer emails, edit, and hustle.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As a wedding and portrait photographer in Moab, I saw firsthand how difficult it was for couples to find a location for their wedding reception. They wanted to dine outdoors and let nature do the decorating. Many of them were excited to share this incredible area with family and friends.

As a former park ranger, it became increasingly important to me to direct clients to a location where they could host their family and friends in a sustainable way—minimizing resource impacts and crowding on public lands. I was able to see firsthand how the impact of large wedding parties was affecting the resource and visitor experience in our national and state parks.

In 2018, I started the process to obtain a 17-acre property as a location for couples to hold their reception that reflects their love of the outdoors, their personalities, and their values. Creating The Red Earth Venue is a dream come true. This venue is currently under construction.

What sets me apart is taking the knowledge I gained from shooting hundreds of weddings into creating a venue that will provide a sustainable space where couples can marry in the Moab desert.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
while I have never attended a mentor session or photography class (Thank you YouTube University haha!).

So many incredible photographers on social media have influenced me in countless ways just through following them. Every single client I have had the pleasure of capturing behind my lens means so much to me. Photographing relationships in an authentic way takes trust– and I take that trust seriously. It is an honor every single time a couple chooses me to tell that story.

My husband has been an incredible support. He has a busy job as a park ranger for Canyonlands Nat’l Park and as the Search and Rescue Coordinator for both Arches and Canyonlands. Despite his busy and demanding career, he makes time to watch our girls so I can always attend my shoots and get the editing time I need. In many ways, he acts as my accountant and business manager.

He also has supported me in my dream of opening The Red Earth Venue.


  • Elopements/Weddings begin at 3K
  • The venue base price is $2,500

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Angela Hays Photography and Brian Hays

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